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Endangered Historic Barn near Kewanee

Landmarks Illinois

A 107 year old barn in western Illinois is the latest possible victim of the state's budget crisis. Last week, a group called Landmarks Illinois released its annual list of "Most Endangered Historic Places," and the new list includes Ryan's Round Barn, near Kewanee, in the Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area. 

Landmarks Illinois says the barn is endangered because the state has no money to replace the rapidly deteriorating roof. Water is getting inside, and the longer repairs are postponed, the more expensive they'll be.

The round barn is 85 feet in diameter and more than 80 feet high, and was built by Doctor Laurence Ryan in 1910, as part of a retreat from his medical practice in Chicago. He died in 1932, and later owners sold the barn to the state in 1968. 

The Friends of Johnson Park Foundation conducts tours and does general maintenance, but it's owned by the Illinois DNR. 

Also on this year's endangered list is the Norway Temperance Hall in LaSalle County, the rotunda building at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, and historic bridges and World War I monuments across Illinois. 

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.